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Summit on traditional medicine to kick off next week

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A summit organized by WHO to explore traditional, complementary and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges is set to be held in India next week.

The summit, to be held on 17 and 18 august, will explore ways to scale up scientific advances and realize the potential of evidence-based knowledge in the use of traditional medicine for people’s health and well-being around the world. Scientists and other experts will lead technical discussions on research, evidence and learning; policy, data and regulation; innovation and digital health; and biodiversity, equity and Indigenous knowledge.

“Traditional medicine can play an important and catalytic role in achieving the goal of universal health coverage and meeting global health-related targets that were off-track even before the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Heads of State and government at the 2019 UN high-level meeting on universal health coverage acknowledged the need to include evidence-based traditional and complementary medicine services particularly in primary health care, a cornerstone of health systems, in pursuit of health for all.

Traditional medicine has contributed to breakthrough medical discoveries and continues to hold out great promise.

Amid an expansion in the use of traditional medicine worldwide, safety, efficacy and quality control of traditional products and procedure-based therapies remain important priorities for health authorities and the public.

“Advancing science on traditional medicine should be held to the same rigorous standards as in other fields of health. This may require new thinking on the methodologies to address these more holistic, contextual approaches and provide evidence that is sufficiently conclusive and robust to lead to policy recommendations,” said Dr John Reeder, WHO Director of Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases and Director of the Department of Research for Health.

The Summit will explore research and evaluation of traditional medicine, including methodologies that can be used to develop a global research agenda and priorities in traditional medicine, as well as challenges and opportunities based on 25 years of research in traditional medicine. Findings from the systematic reviews of traditional medicine and health, evidence maps of clinical effectiveness, and an artificial intelligence global research map on traditional medicine will be presented.

 

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